Jeffrey Archer's Paths of Glory is the story of such a man - George Mallory. Born in 1886, he was a brilliant student who became part of the Bloomsbury Group at Cambridge in the early twentieth century and served in the Royal Garrison Artillery during World War I. After the war, he married, had three children, and would have spent the rest of his life as a schoolteacher, but for his love of mountain climbing.
Mallory once told a reporter that he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, "because it is there." On his third try in 1924, at age 37, he was last seen 400 feet from the top. His body was found in 1999, and it remains a mystery whether he and his climbing partner, Andrew Irvine, ever reached the summit.
In fact, not until you've heard the last words of Archer's extraordinary novel will you be able to decide if George Mallory should be added to that list of legends, while another name would have to be removed. Paths of Glory is truly a triumph.
©2009 Jeffrety Archer; (P)2009 Macmillan Audio
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